A month ago, I was eyeing a Polar watch online and when presented with the chance to test out a Polar M400 watch to review, I jumped on the chance! I am currently using the Garmin Forerunner 610 but it’s been 5 years and I’m starting to itch for a brand new shiny GPS watch! The Polar M400 I got to test out did not come with the heart monitor unfortunately so I don’t have anything to say about that feature.
Full Disclosure: I was sent this product for review but I was not compensated for it and the watch will be sent back after the review period is over.
I’m a pretty picky person – there are many things I look in a watch such as shape, size, colour, style, speed of GPS connection, be able to tell me how to get home when I’m lost, and types of features the watch will come with. So will the Polar M400 meet my expectation? Let’s take a look!
Here are the key features listed from the Polar website:
With an integrated GPS, M400 tracks your speed, distance, altitude and route. You can view your route on a map in the Polar Flow App or Flow web service after your session. The Back-to-start feature directs you to your starting point. Now you can check out more adventurous routes and explore them safely, knowing that your M400 can take you back to where you started.
Improve your performance and train towards your goal with the help of Polar’s unique Smart Coaching features.
FINISH TIME ESTIMATOR
Set the distance for your session and M400 will estimate your arrival time to the destination according to your speed.
M400 gives motivating feedback about the effect of your training immediately after your session.
See how efficient your running is. M400 calculates your Running Index automatically after every run, based on your heart rate and speed data.
M400 rewards you everytime you reach your best result in average speed/pace, distance or calories.
With an inbuilt accelerometer M400 tracks all your movements 24/7. You’ll get a daily activity goal and guidance on how to reach your goal. M400 also reminds you to get up and move when you’ve been inactive too long.
Setting up the Polar M400
So I’m personally not a fan of setting tech up. It took me three years to actually install the program made for my other watch and it was a dreadful process that I like to avoid. However, setting up the Polar M400 was actually extremely simple!
So first, I went on their website and downloaded the Flow Sync program
It took around a minute or two for the download to complete and it was unpacked within seconds!
It then prompted me to create an account which took around 2ish minutes and it led me this!
After the set up was finished, you get this really cool diary/schedule where after you sync your watch after workouts will tell you what you did on this user friendly interface.
Also, you can customize your training screen online via sports profile. Unlike my Garmin where I can do it right away on the watch, the Polar requires me to connect my watch to my computer and change the training screen there.
Test Run with the Polar M400
I went on three test runs with the Polar M400 (along with wearing it on a daily basis for the activity tracker)
The activity tracker allows you to monitor your daily step count throughout the day, and adds it to your total calorie expenditure. At the end of the day, you can see how far you’ve walked but it won’t tell you unless you sync up with Polar Flow at the end of the day. I enjoyed this feature since if you are sitting for too long, it sends you a friendly reminder to get your butt moving! Something I am very guilty of especially when I’m spending my day studying. You can see how you’re doing through their progress bar throughout the day and it gives you a suggestion of what you have to do to hit 100% such as go on a 50 minute run. How considerate! Haha.
Here’s what the summary looks like when you sync it at the end of the day – for this summary, I used the watch sparingly throughout the day because I was home so you can see how much of my “activity” is from my run.
The Polar M400 includes predictive GPS capabilities which help minimizes the time it takes to connect to GPS satellites. In the picture below, you can see how as I’m prepping to go out for my run, the Polar M400 has already connected in my foyer compared to my Garmin. The speed of GPS is important to me because lets be honest, how hasn’t done the GPS watch arm wave trying to get a satellite connection and felt annoyed as they waited for a it to sync? It’s a pain in the butt waiting and sometimes when you’re in on a group run, telling everyone to wait for your watch to sync before starting is a little time consuming!
My Polar had already connected before my Garmin
While running you can see your instant pace via GPS, your average pace, and your distance on one page. You have the option of sticking to that page or going to other ones which can show you your elevation, heart rate, etc. There’s also a timer option/interval option that you can set up to help you hit those split times! The Polar M400 is very versatile when on the run! Similar to my Garmin, it has a Back to Start function which being the directionless runner that I am … helps get me back home if I’ve taken one turn too many. I love that once you are done your run, it gives you a summary page! It tells you if it’s your longest distance, faster run, duration, etc.
Overall Thoughts on the Polar M400
I love it! It is a great GPS watch that is on par with my Garmin and costs less! It’s super light so I barely notice that it’s on. The band is super light and flexible, making it easy to put on and take off. It’s comfortable, stylish, and easy to clean! It was easy to use, set up, and Polar itself is a fantastic company. I was confused as to how to get min/km to show up and couldn’t find it on the manual so I actually CALLED their customer service line and it took less than 5 minutes for him to explain it to me (in case you’re wondering, you have to change the units – I set up my height as 5’3″ since I didn’t know it in cm but doing so would put the distance to miles so I had to convert it to metric which converted my height to cms for me). Considering how when I needed help with my other GPS watch, the other company did not get back to me AT ALL, I was blown away by their amazing customer service.
However, there are some things I dislike about the watch (at first). Unlike my Garmin, it is not a touch screen which for some people it means there’s one less thing to be concern about breaking but because I was so used to my Garmin, I kept trying to swipe it! The dislike slowly faded away and I found it less likely to go to a different page like my Garmin when I accidentally touch the screen!
The only real dislike I had actually had nothing to do with the watch. I had downloaded the Polar Flow app on my Samsung Galaxy only to find out that the M400 didn’t sync with it! I’m sure Polar is working on it but I was pretty bummed out that I didn’t get to test that feature out.
I honestly really enjoyed testing the watch and wish I could keep it but unfortunately I’m only allowed to keep it for so long to test (I’ve grown strangely attached to it!)
Hope you found my Polar M400 review to be helpful! Do you have a GPS watch? Which one? Are you in the market for one? Let me know!
EDIT: Some common questions/search terms that pops up for this post is what is the band length for the Polar M400. I measured it from the top of the band to the bottom (watch interface included) and the length is approximately 10 inches.
EDIT 2: On December 15, 2014, I’ve purchased my own Polar M400 after falling in love with it!
EDIT 3: Yes, you can on the Polar M400, you can delete activity directly from the watch without plugging it in.